The Minister designate for Communication, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has said that Radio XYZ and Radio Gold were not deliberately targeted for closure by the government.
Mrs Ekuful who appeared before Parliament’s Appointment Committee on Monday, 15th February, 2021 to be vetted said the closure of the pro-opposition radio stations were part of a national exercise to cleanse the sanitise the system.
She explained to the committee that the decision to go after radio stations followed an audit which was conducted in March 2017 to assess the broadcast authorization status of radio stations in the country, identify stations with expired authorizations and those that failed to commence operation within the stipulated period.
According to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma West, only stations owned and operated by the Ghana Broadcast Cooperation (GBC) were not part of the exercise.
The Law Maker said after the audit, a total of 144 FM stations were identified as those which either operated with expired authorizations or had failed to commence operation within the stipulated two year period after the grant of the license.
“51 companies had submitted uncompleted documents for renewal after the expiration of their five year mandate, Twenty Six (26) companies applied for renewal even before the audit but no authorization was issued and they were requested to resubmit a complete applications since what they submitted were incomplete whilst 18 had been issued provisional authorization before the Audit but hadn’t paid the fees in full.
“Following the recommendation of the Audit report and the decision of the Electronic Communication tribunal in the case of the Ghana Independent Broadcasting Association verses the NCA, the Authority shut down Fifty One (51) commercial FM stations for failure to submit its complete set of renewal documents prior to expiry of their authorization which includes both Radio XYZ AND Radio Gold,” she said.
The clarifications came after the MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who is also a member of the Appointment Committee had claimed that the two stations were targeted for closure.